Defending champions Michael Coxon, Aaron Links and Nathan Ellis brought Fiat home a narrow winner today to finish second overall behind Gotta Love It 7, while Hugh Stodart’s Asko Appliances was third, just ahead of Omega Smeg (Trevor Barnabas).
Coxon and his team led all the way in today’s race and looked likely to score an easy win but had to survive a brilliant finish by Kinder Caring Home Nursing (Brett Van Munster).
Fiat crossed the finish line just one second ahead of Kinder Caring while yesterday’s Race 6 winner Rag & Famish Hotel (John Harris) finished another 1 min 55 secs back in third place.
Coxon and Van Munster elected to take their skiffs to the right hand side of the course on the first windward leg while Gotta Love It 7 and Club Marine (Adam Beashel) went to the left.
At the windward mark, Fiat led from Kinder Caring with Ssangyong Yandoo (John Winning) in third place. Fiat was 15secs ahead at the wing mark and gradually increased the lead throughout the race.
At the second windward mark the lead was out to 1 minute from Kinder Caring while Ssangyong Yandoo and Gotta Love It 7 were battling hard for third place. The Gotta Love It 7 crew worked their way into second place at the final windward mark with just the spinnaker run between Rose Bay and Clarke Island to the finish.
Fiat and Gotta Love It 7 were above the finish line and had to gybe twice near the mouth of Double Bay. Kinder Caring had carried their spinnaker much lower than the others and were on a direct line to the finish. Fiat completed her gybes but Gotta Love It 7 capsized as Kinder Caring came ‘steaming’ home.
The experienced Fiat crew were under terrific pressure but retained their composure to beat Kinder Caring home by a mere second in a wonderful finish.